In August the DEA announced that hydrocodone would be moved from a Schedule III medication to a Schedule II, because of it’s high potential for abuse. Pain patients may be prescribed an initial 90-day supply and further prescriptions will have to be done in person, as opposed to renewal via fax or phone. PAINWeek faculty member and PAINWeek Journal editorial board member Steven D. Passik, PhD, stated that “it’s going to raise healthcare costs tremendously” and that “There are going to be patients whose physiological dependence has been sort of underestimated. They’re going to turn up in emergency rooms.”
Another PAINWeek faculty member Jeffrey Fudin, PharmD, said, “To think that rescheduling of hydrocodone is going to have a huge positive in the war on drugs is really a big mistake.” Hydrocodone is commonly prescribed and, relative to that amount, actually causes the lowest harm. Experts predict more suicides and possibly more use of illicit drugs such as heroin.
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